JordanAT: If I stole your camera and took several hundred photos* and I was then captured by police and the stolen camera was returned to you - who owns the copyright to the images I took?
* for arguments sake, we might assume I know nothing about cameras and I took the photos in auto mode without changing the settings on the camera
508.01 Registration requirements.To be entitled to copyright registration, a photograph, holo gram, or slide must contain at least a certain minimum amount of original expression.Under your "assumptions", it is unlikely that the photos will contain sufficient amount of original expression to pass the examination test.
Biological_Viewfinder: If you are on vacation and want a photograph of your family with you in it; you may seek the help of someone else.
So then, a random stranger is given your camera. He takes the photograph.
But who would ever argue that it was not your photograph?????
Also remember that not every snapshot is eligible for copyright protection. In your example, even if the "authorship" can be traced to you as the one making desicion to take a picture, providing a camera and directing the setting and composition, the picture may be lacking the required degree of "creative expression" making it ineligible for copyright protection.
olsenn: If you dg deeply enough, absolutely anything can be traced to a human. For instace, photos cannot exist without cameras, and the camera is a man-made invention. Therefore, by that line of reasoning, no photos are ever produced "solely" by nature.
I agree. I think "solely by nature" or "solely by animal" is applicable to something that is regularly cretated by the forces of nature or by animals; not when a human being's deliberate interactions influence the nature or the anumals to create something that didn't exist before, like a painting or a photograph.
Biological_Viewfinder: If I hand my camera to my child, and she takes a photograph that I post-process; it still belongs to me.
If I drop my camera off a cliff, and it hits a rock and takes a picture that I post-process; THE PHOTO STILL BELONGS TO ME!!!!
You would be considered the owner of the photos but may not be considered the author. Both the author and the owner are eligible for copyright protection, but other criteria also should be met for the work to be copyrightable - the authorship must be traceable to a human being, and there must be some level of creative expression present in the photos. If in both examples it was your intention to create the images that way than I think the authorship could be traced to you. However there might be not enough creative expression in both cases to qualify for copyright protection. In any case, THE PHOTOS WILL STILL BELONG TO YOU!!! ;^D
202.02(b) Human author.The term "authorship" implies that, for a work to be copyrightable, it must owe its origin to a human being. Materials produced solely by nature, by plants, or by animals are not copyrightable.
How hard it is to trace the origin of the monkey's pictures to a human being after all that work the photographer has done to make it happen (planning and making a trip, living with the tribe, gaining their trust, letting them play with equipment, bringing the pictures back, processing them)? Who if not Mr. Slater is the author of those highly original pictures?How can someone claim that they were produced SOLELY BY NATUTE, BY PLANTS, or BY ANIMALS?
PassinThru: Most of the people arguing for copyright going to the human seemed to be based on a sort of moral outrage about what's right and wrong, or want assign copyright based on the owner of the equipment. Intent to take pictures also seems to play a large part for many, whether the human took them or not.
A much more interesting discussion would happen if you followed the "Copyright law" link in the 4th paragraph. It's not as clear cut as anyone is saying.
While 503.03 talks about works not originated by a human author, this is discussed in the context of painting and sculpture produced by random processes. Note: photography is explicitly discussed in section 508, not here.
508.01 talks about what qualifies: it boils down to "composition", done by the photographer when the picture is taken.508.02 talks about what doesn't qualify. It seems to cover trap photos well.
Why don't we talk about the CopyRight Office Practices doc instead of some vague sense of injustice?
I have to admit that I am among those who appeal to the ethical grounds of the issue. I am glad you pointed to the link and I looked at section 508 carefully. I have to disagree with regard to the trap shots - there is nothing at all referring to trap shots in the law. The way I read it, if a trap shot contains "at least a certain minimum amount of original expression" it is qualifiable. The law does not say anything about who press the shutter either. So it should be clear that Mr. Slater has the right to be protected by the Law - his photographs are loaded with "original expression".
Gpruitt54: Totally stupid to assign ownership of the image to the ape. Of course, the photographer owns the image. Who’s gear was used to capture the image? Who set up the camera? Who made it possible to capture this image? Answer; the photographer.
How can you claim that the monkey pictures were not originated by a human? He spent days with the tribe gaining their trust. He tought them how to press a release button. He setup a camera hoping they would just play with release button but one of them actually grabbed the camera and dragged it around. And after all of this, people are ready to give all credits to the monkey like the photographer never even was there.
VadymA: So I am asking, who owns a product made on a stolen equipment and with stolen materials? Is it the owner of the equipment and materials or the producer? In my view there must be at least a joint ownership, so Mr. Slater is a rightful co-owner of the images. Case closed! :D
Personally, I think in all cases you should share the rights and collectively agree how to proceed. The images are on your camera and you have the right to delete them, for example. You do not need anybody's permission to do this. Depending on the efforts, the share may not be 50-50; it could be 40-60 or 10-90. The key is to recognize everyone's contribution to the process and reward fairly for that. In case of Mr. Slater I don't believe his contribution is fairly recognized.
Klarno: The photographer is the one that made the macaque selfie possible. The monkey didn't go to walmart and buy the camera, and the monkey didn't really compose any images, not knowing that any images would be captured, only seeing her reflection in the lens and hearing the sound of the shutter.
The copyright can't belong to the macaque, as the law does not provide for animals to have copyright. Nor does the macaque have power to determine whether or not any copies can be made of the photograph.
Copyright is an economic right, and if there's a profit to be made from this photograph, that right should belong to the photographer who made the photograph possible. He put himself, and the camera, in the situation where the macaque selfie ended up happening.
The only way public domain can apply in a private photographer's situation is if the copyright expires (in the UK, 70 years after the photographer's death), or the photographer chooses to place the photograph in the public domain.
In this case the photographer has no rights to release this photo unless you sign a release form. So until then, you both have rights. This is what I am arguing for - Mr. Slater should be granted at least some rights to these images and not just bluntly ignored due to some loopholes in the law.
Krich13 - There are a lot of things produced by non-humans that individuals claim the ownership for. Why this case should be different? Why Mr. Slater should be refused any rights to the images taken with his camera when it was done with an assistance of an animal? There is a video of a dog walking around with a go-pro camera on its neck. Should the owner of the video be refised of any rights to it?
califleftyb: The argument is the monkey holds copyright because of his physical manipulation of the camera. OK, I'll play that game. Since the monkey let the photographer have the camera back with the image data, his intention was to pass the copyright back to the photographer without reservation of his rights.
Monkey see, monkey do.
Good one, I like that. Let them go back to the jungles, find that very same monkey and ask to confirm if that was not the case.
Martian1 - The ape was not taking photos, the ape was playing with the shutter. The camera took the pictures and that camera belongs to a person who willingly allowed the ape to play with the shutter while pictures are being taken. It was a creative act of a photographer.
If a photographer gives me a professional camera, puts a blind on my eyes, and asks me to press a shutter randomly for 15 minutes - who should get credit for the outcome? To me it's clear - the photographer or at least both of us; looks like many people on this forum would disagree.
ambercool: This is so ridiculous. Of course anyone who presses the button owns the copyright, but in this case the photographer deliberately wanted the monkey to take its photo for him. I hope this turns out with just cause because things like this is ridiculous to even debate about.
It was also done at the free will of the photographer who saw creative potential of the situation and made a mental "deal" with the monkey - "Okey, you like the camera and the sound of the shutter, then feel free to play with it and I will play with the images after that." If the photographer knew he had no rights to the images he would not allow the monkey to play with the camera. The monkey didn't want the camera to take pictures, it liked the shutter sound, that's it. It's the photographer who recognized creative aspects of the situation and let the monkey play with his camera.
Jozef-S: Certainly it seems like a copyright loophole and Wikimedia took advantage of it. In cases like that the owner of the images should have first secured the ownership before releasing them.
Yes, but I think the loophole is rather flimzy and could be successfully countered from many angles. I think Wiki will lose in court and will be forced to pay damages. I also think they know that and want to gain some publicity and then remove the images rather then taking it to court.
All those people got paid for their services and with that they surrender any further rights to the outcomes of the transaction. It's that simple.
The act of loaning a camera would imply that I agreed to temporarily surrender the rights of ownership for the period of loan. Otherwise I would have to specify that everything my friend takes with the camera should be shared. If my friend is desparate to have a camera and this is his/her only choice, it might be a good deal for both sides. If I loan my friend the money to buy a lottery ticket and he wins 100 million, I would not be able to claim my rights to a share of it unless I specify this in the conditions of the loan. If the friend steals that money from me to buy a ticket and win the lottery, I would claim a joint ownership and demand a share of the gain. I think it would be fair.
PATaMAT: Imagine you go on holiday with your wife/GF. You own the camera, you switch it on, and then you pass it to her. Then she takes the picture.
Is it your picture or hers? I think the answer is obvious. PS : I am not suggesting my GF is a monkey in any way :)
You both should have the rights to co-ownership. Although in case of close relatives it is easier to find a compromise as both parties have common goals, not competing goals, thus it is easier to assign the ownership to just one person.
win39: What if the monkey were a person instead, who snatched up the camera and made images of commercial value? I think it would be easier to say the guy who just owned the camera did not own the copyright. Certainly it might be a very difficult court case. It is not simple. The problem is that we have a tradition of thousands of years of exploiting animals for commercial gain. Taking the monkey's creation as your own is no different than taking a rhino horn for its imagined Viagra like properties and claiming the result as your own.
This would be a case of crime and punishment. What punishment would you suggest for stealing the camera? What it the owner of the camera was just about to take the same commercially valuable images but was not able to do it because his camera was stolen? Personally, I think the owner of the camera has more ethical (if not legal) rights to the images than the thief.
When manufacturers sell their products to us, they transfer the right of ownership for that product and for its output to us, period. All they keep is the copyright rights preventing us from duplicationg thier prodicts or their specific parts. Same with us, if I sell my camera to you, or even willingly give it to you free of charge, I transfer all my rights of ownership to you.
Atlasman: Since the camera is owned by the photographer, I would say that all products derived from the equipment belong to the owner. Without the equipment there would be no image.
I am sure the guy would claim that he shouldn't be charged with murder since he didn't pull the trigger but he would most likely accept or be forced to accept negligence charges. So he would be considered partially responsible. This is my position here - he has the right to claim AT LEAST partial ownership (or co-ownership) of the images; but since the monkey cannot be legally considered as a co-owner, the photographer should become a sole LEGAL owner of the images.